Nuclear sweetheart ditches San Anto, leaving us with the bill
Austin backs out, billions in loans are yanked, adding pressure to San Anto's nuke daydreaming.
made it official yesterday: Our 16-percent nuclear sweetheart ainít coming along for this nuclear
expansion. That leaves the city of San Antonio and NRG Energy
essentially 50-50 partners on a proposed doubling of the South Texas
Nuclear Project (more recently renamed South Texas Project for some obscuring reason).
Canít blame our Capitol kin. Years of delays and millions in cost overruns for
Units One and Two nearly bankrupted them before the energy finally started to flow in 1988.
SA-owned CPS Energy largely credits the nukes for keeping our rates low. Of course, they have their fiscal critics
, mining victims
, and disposal quandaries
latched on like lampreys."Hip-hip-HOORAY!
," blogged citizensarah
at Public Citizenís Texocentric blogspot.
big news, however, is the removal of $50 billion attached to Obamaís stimulus
package during the final hours of negotiation as Senate
and House versions were rectified and billions were stripped away to
appease Republican detractors.
That move is going to make it much harder for many of the 17 pending applications to move forward. But it will bring a small boom to the green-building sector.
Writes Kate Sheppard at Grist
$789 billion economic-recovery bill looks good in terms of green
spending, according to preliminary analysis from the Center for
American Progress. The House and Senate reached agreement on the bill
on Wednesday and are expected to approve it by the end of the week;
President Obama hopes to sign it into law by Presidents' Day.
bill contains at least $62.2 billion in direct spending on green
initiatives and $20 billion in green tax incentives, while funding for
nuclear and coal projects was dropped from the final version.
their press release, Austin leaders state they are not opposed to the
project, itís just for them the risks outweigh potential benefits.
Hereís the meat on that:
Energy retained the services of WorleyParsons to evaluate the NRG
proposal. WorleyParsons has extensive experience in the nuclear
industry and is strongly supportive of the resurgence of nuclear energy
in the United States. It is further supportive of the overall proposal
to expand STP and has concluded that the proposed expansion project is
financially viable as a whole. However, it was the conclusion of both
WorleyParsons and Austin Energy that the utility should not participate
in this particular project.
A detailed risk assessment and
financial analysis indicates that the potential return to the City
would not be sufficient given the potential risk. Austin, as a minority
shareholder in the STP, would have no control over construction costs,
schedule delays, and future fuel and energy prices. The analysis
indicates that investment in the proposed project could require cash
outlays by the City of $2 billion or more over at least the next seven
Such a sum would require the issuance of significant debt
relative to Austin Energyís size that could result in a downgrade of
its credit rating, leading to higher future borrowing costs. The
addition of 432 MW of additional baseload nuclear generation within the
projected time frame is almost double the amount of additional
generation Austin Energy expects to require by 2020. There also remains
the additional long-term risk associated with waste disposal.
Energy has developed a proposed generation plan through 2020. That
proposed plan includes about 900 MW of additional capacity, including a
200 MW expansion of the utilityís natural gas-fueled Sand Hill Energy
Center, an additional 100 MW biomas plant, a doubling of the utilityís
wind-generation portfolio to about 1,000 MW as well as 100 MW of solar
capacity. The plan is under review through a public participation
process that began last November. The utility expects to make final
recommendations on the plan to the Austin City Council by mid to late
It would seem that the more local residents and
Hardberger's Mission Verde can twist CPS Energy into oversized
renewable commitments, the more our emphasis on nukes would diminish
here at home.
Can we forgo nuclear even if the worst-case migration-influx predictions prove out? Some have said so
Posted by gharman on 2/13/2009 11:43:53 AM
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